Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: May 7th 2013
My rating: 4 stars
For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.
Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.
When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.
But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.
Nantucket Blue was more than I was expecting. I looked at that amazing cover and thought: light summer read, fun and flirty romance, lazy days at the beach. Sign me up! This was more. It was a story about defining your identity, best friends, family, loss, and first loves.
Cricket Thompson has been best friends with Jules since eighth grade. Cricket loves Jules and her family almost in a hero worship sort of way. So when tragedy strikes Jules’ family, Cricket wants to be there with her, comforting and consoling her. Cricket’s plan of spending the summer with Jules in their vacation home in Nantucket is upset by this tragedy, but Cricket doesn’t give up. The thought of spending the summer home alone with her mother, and away from Jules is more than she can take, so she makes her own way out there, taking a job as a chamber maid to do so.
This summer is shaping up to be completely different from what Cricket expected, because Jules is less than thrilled with Cricket’s appearance. Lonely from Jules’ rejection, Cricket finds solace in Jules’ younger brother, Zack, spending more and more time with him. Their mutual attraction leaves Cricket breathless and excited unlike any other boy before, but it also stirs up feelings of guilt over what Jules would think. Cricket is sure she would disapprove.
I didn’t expect to love this story as much as I did. I connected with Cricket right off the bat so her journey felt completely personal to me. I was so ticked off with Jules’ treatment of Cricket, I COULDN’T STAND HER!! I don’t care if she suffered loss, I don’t think that gave her license to be such a colossal witch!! But at the same time I’m almost glad that Jules treated Cricket the way she did. This forced her to wake up and realize she held value and merit all on her own, without Jules. She made new friends, spent time alone with Zack, got insight on her mother, and landed an internship; all things that probably wouldn’t have happened had she stayed friends with Jules. I do think Jules got off pretty lightly, but I don’t think things would’ve ever been the same between those two, even if Jules was more repentant. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on.
Now onto the romance! Cricket crushes on one boy in the beginning, but things in life never go according to plan. Zack is someone Cricket knows really well, but the attraction when it clicked took her by surprise. It’s not something she would’ve chosen, because he’s younger than her, but this worked!! I loved it when she’d realized that Zack was flirting with her or when he sent her heart racing just by looking at him! The romance left me warm and zinging along. Just lovely! *sigh*
The boat drifted and his hands did, too, back to my legs, up my arms and neck. We kissed. We drifted and kissed and drifted and kissed as the sky flashed and clapped and bloomed and broke.*
There was a little bit of an unfolding mystery with Cricket’s mother’s past. Discovering that her mother was an actual teenager with desires and thoughts much like hers had Cricket cringing and yet captivated at the same time. It had me cracking up! I have to give a “thumbs down” to Cricket’s father. Some definite groveling is in order, and I certainly don’t think Cricket owes any apology to him!
I’m impressed with Leila Howard’s debut novel! Her prose was beautiful and touching without being overly flowery. Her characters felt real and relatable, and I could almost taste the salt air of Nantucket, right along with Cricket, from her descriptions. I’ll definitely be on the watch for her next novel!
*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.